Japan Will Face USA in WBC Championship

Otis Adams

In a dramatic 9th inning against Mexico, Japan's Munetaka Murakami doubled to center and Shohei Ohtani and Ukyo Shuto scored, robbing Mexico of the lead - and the game.

Mexico, the only team to have defeated the United States of America in this year's World Baseball Classic, will be heading home as Japan's team prepares to face USA in the championship Tuesday night.

Both the United States and Japan are former WBC champions. USA's team is the reigning champion after winning in 2017 and will fight to repeat. Japan, however, is the only team to have won the World Baseball Classic twice and will try to make their dominance of the tournament more clear by winning a third time.

  • 2006 - Japan won vs. Cuba
  • 2009 - Japan won vs. South Korea
  • 2013 - Dominican Republic won vs. Puerto Rico
  • 2017 - United States won vs. Puerto Rico
  • 2023 - United States vs. Japan

How the teams matchup

Both teams are nearly equal in batting average during the WBC, with Japan having a slight edge with a .314 team BA versus USA's .310.

The United States has more power with 10 homeruns to Japan's 7 but Japan again edges out the United States on RBI's with 52 to 47.

While the two teams are evenly matched at the plate, the game will likely come down to pitching - and Japan has the lead. Japan's pitching has outperformed USA's considerably during the WBC. The spring-training-mode hurlers for USA have posted the mediocre ERA of 4.33 while Japan's pitchers have managed to be very sharp with an ERA of 2.33.

USA will be considered the home team, batting first - a salient fact considering Japan's comeback win against Mexico in the bottom of the 9th tonight.

Probable pitchers have not been officially posted on MLB's site. According to Sports Illustrated, USA's manager Mark DeRosa is handing the ball to the Diamondback's Merrill Kelly to start on Tuesday. Kelly won 13 games last year with a 3.37 ERA.

The World Baseball Classic championship game between USA and Japan is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:00 PM central time and will be televised on FS1.

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Author of Lavatory Reader #1: This Road, now available on Amazon. Otis Adams is the author of three books and has won two dozen awards for his screenplays and short fiction. He writes regularly on Medium.com and can be contacted at pithbooks@gmail.com.

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